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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Sellafield staff ‘are working too long’

KEY Sellafield workers are seen to be in danger of fatigue by working too long, especially in areas of higher risk.

Some have had to work double shifts – two eight-hour shifts back to back – in order to keep plants running and maintain safety.

Unions and management are working to see how best to resolve potential problems caused by fatigue. More workers are being taken on to boost manning levels of key plants and there will be longer rest times.

Concerns have been flagged up by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. In a report to Tuesday’s meeting of West Cumbria’s Group stakeholders (the site’s health and safety watchdogs), the ONR said: “Event reporting indicated that instances of extended hours working were still prevalent, and that the fatigue risk assessment process was not addressing the causal factors.

“In the coming months we will focus on the implementation of new arrangements introduced by Sellafield Ltd, its identification and evaluation of the effectiveness of these to manage fatigue and working times.”

Prospect official Peter Clements first warned about possible fatigue risks at the time Sellafield Ltd shed 800 jobs two years ago. Yesterday he told The Whitehaven News: “You can’t say it’s all a direct result of the redundancies but extended working hours, double shifts and possible fatigue are being recognised. The company has started to recruit for manning-up risk areas.

“Risk assessments are carried out before a job is done and risks mitigated against by increasing rest times. Recruitment is going on.”

On control of work, the ONR also says: “We reviewed Sellafield Ltd’s risk assessment arrangements and suggested that a greater focus was needed on nuclear safety. Sellafield Ltd has agreed to consider our findings.”

A site spokesman said: “Sellafield Ltd recognises the importance of employee welfare and the impact that this can have on performance and, over a period of several months, we have been working closely with our colleagues from Prospect and the trade unions to identify ways in which we can improve working practices to cover the points raised in the Office of Nuclear Regulation’s report.

“The safety and wellbeing of our workforce are of paramount importance to us and we will continue to work closely with their representatives to proactively identify and jointly develop ideas for continuous improvement.”

Have your say

Grant, that was a touching tale.
But I guarentee you that you've never woke up on a Monday morning for first shift & felt like crying.
I wish you non-grafters could spend a week working on site & then you'd finally see just all the effort that EVERY Sellafield worker puts in.
You'll be whinging about our hard-earned bonuses next I imagine? Get a life, Grant!

Posted by The Ultimate Grafter on 15 May 2012 at 22:23

My heart bleeds for you all. I work 24 hour shifts 8 times a month, if the fall on a weekend that doubles to 48 hours, I also work in a nuclear environment, and in between those lon shifts I get the joy of working monday to friday from 0730 to 1730, and this is during our supposedly easy, time alongside! During deployments I work a 6 hours on 6 hours off shift pattern continuosly for anything upto 3 months without any time off, not even weekends! To cap it all I could never hope to get close to the wages you whinging lazy sellafield employees get. Also had the joy of a two year pay freeze and the government slashing what meagre perks we once received in the SDSR. But I get on with it and enjoy it and wouldn't change it for the world. Try getting some perspective!
Its the whinging that makes people hate you!!!

Posted by Grant on 14 May 2012 at 12:36

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